TouringPlans Tells You When To Change A FastPass+ Reservation

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We recently released a new version of our free Disney World touring plan software.  This version contains an update to our FastPass+ support, based on feedback from folks invited to Disney’s July and August tests. These folks have identified a situation where they obtained a FastPass+ reservation from Disney, but our touring plan optimizer did not use the FastPass+ reservation and did not explain why.

To address this, the optimizer will now notify you if it does not use a FastPass+ opportunity that you’ve selected.  (More on that below.)  The optimizer will also remind you of your options:

  1.  Change the FastPass+ reservation time
    -or-
  2. Select another attraction for FastPass+

The interesting thing about this issue, I think, is this: When the optimizer doesn’t use a FastPass+ reservation, it’s almost always telling you that the FastPass+ isn’t useful at the attraction or time selected.  And by “useful” I mean that either:

  1. Using the FastPass+ reservation will result in more time in line or more walking
  2. The time saved using FastPass+ doesn’t justify the amount of walking needed to use it

Below are some examples that explain why the optimizer doesn’t use some FastPass+ reservations, and how you’d be better off changing the FastPass+ reservation to another attraction.  The end of this post contains a list of attractions for which FastPass+ is frequently not needed.

Example #1: Using FastPass+ Takes More Time Than Standby Line

Here’s an example where using the FastPass+ reservation results in more walking, and therefore the entire plan takes longer to complete.  This plan was sent in by a family planning to visit the Animal Kingdom, arriving at park open, with two FastPass+ reservations: Kali River Rapids at 11 a.m., and Dinosaur at noon.  They’re also visiting other attractions throughout the park.

The optimizer came up with a plan that doesn’t use the Kali FastPass+ reservation:

Option #1: Skip Kali River Rapids FastPass+ To Reduce Walking
Step Attraction Arrival Time Wait to Ride Ride Duration Free Time Walk to Next Step
1 Entrance 9:00 am 0 0 0 8
2 Kali River Rapids 9:08 am 1 10 0 8
3 Kilimanjaro Safaris 9:27 am 6 20 0 3
4 Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station 9:56 am 5 7 0 8
5 Habitat Habit 10:16 am 0 10 0 2
6 Conservation Station 10:28 am 0 20 0 1
7 Affection Section 10:49 am 0 15 0 5
8 Wildlife Express Train to Harambe 11:09 am 5 7 33 6
9 Dinosaur
Existing FP+ Reservation
12:00 pm 1 4 0 3
10 Triceratop Spin 12:08 pm 2 2 0 2
11 The Boneyard 12:14 pm 0 30 0 11
12 Camp Minnie-Mickey Trails 12:55 pm 13 3 3 1
13 Festival of the Lion King 1:15 pm 15 30 84 6
14 Jammin’ Jungle Parade 3:30 pm 15 15 0 5
15 Entrance 4:05 pm 0 0 0 0
 TOTALS 63 minutes 173 minutes 120 minutes 69 minutes

 

The family asked to see Kali River Rapids moved to after the return trip to Harambe on the Wildlife Express Train at 11:09 a.m.  We made the change and evaluated the plan’s new walking and waiting costs.  Here’s the modified plan:

Option #2: Use Kali River Rapids FastPass+ But Walk More
Step Attraction Arrival Time Wait to Ride Ride Duration Free Time Walk to Next Step
1 Entrance 9:00 am 0 0 0 8
2 Kilimanjaro Safaris 9:11 am 2 20 0 3
3 Wildlife Express Train to Conservation Station 9:36 am 5 7 0 8
4 Habitat Habit 9:56 am 0 10 0 2
5 Conservation Station 10:08 am 0 20 0 1
6 Affection Section 10:29 am 0 15 0 5
7 Wildlife Express Train to Harambe 10:49 am 5 7 0 14
8 Kali River Rapids
Existing FP+ Reservation
11:15 am 3 10 23 9
9 Dinosaur
Existing FP+ Reservation
12:00 pm 1 4 0 3
10 Triceratop Spin 12:08 pm 2 2 0 2
11 The Boneyard 12:14 pm 0 30 0 11
12 Camp Minnie-Mickey Trails 12:55 pm 13 3 3 1
13 Festival of the Lion King 1:15 pm 15 30 84 6
14 Jammin’ Jungle Parade 3:30 pm 15 15 0 5
15 Entrance 4:05 pm 0 0 0 0
 TOTALS 61 minutes 173 minutes 110 minutes 81 minutes

This version uses the Kali River Rapids FastPass+ reservation and saves 2 minutes of standing in line, but takes 12 more minutes of walking.  It also has 10 fewer minutes of free time.  For this family, using a FastPass+ opportunity for Kali doesn’t make sense.  In fact, their longest wait for an attraction or autograph is 13 minutes.  We suggested they use their FastPass+ opportunities to re-ride favorite attractions in the afternoon.

Example #2: Using FastPass+ Isn’t Worth the Effort

In this second example, using FastPass+ at Haunted Mansion requires 5 extra minutes of walking to save 5 minutes of standing in line.

Here’s the background: Our family has selected about a dozen popular Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and Adventureland attractions, plus lunch at Columbia Harbour House.  The family has FastPass+ selections for Space Mountain at 9 a.m., Big Thunder Mountain at noon, and Haunted Mansion at 4 p.m. as their FastPass+ opportunities.

The optimizer’s first touring plan doesn’t use the Haunted Mansion FastPass+ reservation:

Option #1: Skip FastPass+ at Haunted Mansion

Step

Attraction

Arrival Time

Wait to

Ride

Ride Duration

Free

Time

Walk to Next Step

1

Winnie the Pooh

9:09 am

1

4

0

4

2

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

9:18 am

4

7

0

5

3

Peter Pan’s Flight

9:34 am

12

3

0

1

4

It’s a Small World

9:50 am

5

14

0

2

5

Haunted Mansion

10:11 am

10

10

0

8

6

Space Mountain
Existing FP+ Reservation

10:39 am

5

10

0

2

7

Buzz Lightyear

10:56 am

17

5

0

10

8

Columbia Harbour House

11:28 am

0

30

0

10

9

Big Thunder Mountain
Existing FP+ Reservation

12:08 pm

4

7

0

2

10

Splash Mountain

12:21 pm

40

18

0

3

11

Country Bear Jamboree

1:22 pm

7

10

0

1

12

Enchanted Tiki Room

1:40 pm

7

16

0

7

13

Tomorrowland Transit Auth

2:10 pm

0

10

0

1

14

Carousel of Progress

2:21 pm

5

21

0

2

15

Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

2:49 pm

7

15

0

8

TOTALS

370 min

124

180

0

66

 

The family asked to see the Haunted Mansion’s FastPass+ reservation moved to the end of the plan. We used the optimizer’s Evaluate option to score the new plan.  Here are the results:

Option #2: Use FastPass+ at Haunted Mansion Takes More Effort Than It’s Worth

Step

Attraction

Arrival Time

Wait to

Ride

Ride Duration

Free

Time

Walk to Next Step

1

Winnie the Pooh

9:09 am

1

4

0

4

2

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

9:18 am

4

7

0

5

3

Peter Pan’s Flight

9:34 am

12

3

0

1

4

It’s a Small World

9:50 am

5

14

0

8

5

Space Mountain
Existing FP+ Reservation

10:17 am

4

10

0

2

6

Buzz Lightyear

10:33 am

16

5

16

10

7

Columbia Harbour House

11:20 am

0

30

0

10

8

Big Thunder Mountain
Existing FP+ Reservation

12:00 pm

4

7

0

2

9

Splash Mountain

12:13 pm

39

18

0

3

10

Country Bear Jamboree

1:13 pm

7

10

0

1

11

Enchanted Tiki Room

1:31 pm

7

16

0

6

12

Tomorrowland Transit Auth

2:01 pm

0

10

0

1

13

Carousel of Progress

2:12 pm

5

21

0

2

14

Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

2:40 pm

7

15

52

6

15

Haunted Mansion
Existing FP+ Reservation

4:00 pm

3

10

0

10

TOTALS

434 mins

114

180

68

72

 

Using FastPass+ at Haunted Mansion results in 5 more minutes of walking, 10 fewer minutes of waiting in line, and 68 minutes of “free time” before that Haunted Mansion FastPass to become valid.

In this case, the optimizer is saying that 5 minutes of walking and a 68-minute delay to use the FastPass+ isn’t worth saving 5 net minutes in line.   The family also preferred the first version of the plan because it has a continuous block of free time from about 3:20 p.m. through the end of the day, where the second plan’s big chunk of free time started an hour later.

Summary

If you’re getting to the park at opening and you’re using a touring plan, there are very few attractions for which it makes sense to use a FastPass+ opportunity during the first hour the park is open.  (Enchanted Tales with Belle is probably one, and maybe a couple of other Fantasyland or Tomorrowland attractions, depending on how many things you want to see in those lands.)

In addition to Haunted Mansion and Kali River Rapids, the following attractions are frequently flagged by the optimizer as not being needed when your touring plan starts at park opening:

Magic Kingdom

  • It’s a Small World
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic
  • Monsters, Inc Laugh Floor
  • Town Square Theater Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Epcot

  • Captain EO
  • Journey Into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission: Space Green
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Disney Junior – Live on Stafe!
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
  • Lights! Motors! Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Animal Kingdom

  • Festival of the Lion King
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
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Posted on August 1, 2013

47 Responses to “TouringPlans Tells You When To Change A FastPass+ Reservation”

  • These recommendations of which attractions are not useful for FASTPASS+ are great. Do you think this will change, though, when a much larger group of people has access to FASTPASS+? In other words, it’s not necessary to use FASTPASS+ for Haunted Mansion now, but if thousands of people are using FASTPASS+ for Haunted Mansion (instead of the limited test group), might FASTPASS+ become necessary for this and other non-recommended FASTPASS+ attractions?

    • I think you’ll see standby times at the secondary attractions increase, once people see that all of the FP+ times are taken at the headliner attractions. People who may not have visited It’s a Small World, for example, may look at the FP+ choices remaining and decide that using one there is better than letting the FP+ go to waste.

  • But one thing you are forgetting, optimal times to experience an attraction. Who the heck would want to ride KRR at 9:00am? There placement of the ride after the hot Harambe experience is much more preferred. Need to bake that into the optimizer- water rides first thing in the morning are not ideal.

  • Yep – I understand. Thanks for the comment!

  • Has Disney indicated a date for the full rollout of FastPass+?

    • Not yet, but we’re now hearing it’ll be out in 3-6 months.

      • When we were planning our April 2013 trip I wondered right down to the last minute if FPP would be up during our trip. Now, as we’re planning our February 2014 trip I’m wondering the same thing. Kinda funny, really.

      • good…because I’ll be there in late September and want no part of this potential mess.:) Next trip would then be a year later and hope they will have everything worked out. I feel like once this gets rolled out to everyone, it will be very painful early on.

  • I find it interesting that none of the plans take a Lunch break, which for me can be 30 minutes to 1hr. 30min. depending on if I do Counter or Table Service.

    • Noticed the same thing and with young children, will need to plan some down time around lunch.

    • Yep – lunches are important. The Magic Kingdom plan has lunch at Columbia Harbour House in Step 8 and Step 7 of the plan’s two alternatives.

      In the first Animal Kingdom plan, without Kali FP+, you’ve got more than half an hour of free time between 11 am and noon, during which you could grab a counter-service lunch. With Kali FP+ you’ve got 23 minutes free around the same time. Possibly enough to do a quick QS meal, and I don’t think the plan would go significantly off track if you took longer.

  • This whole system gives me nightmares. My daughter, myself and her two small children under age 6 will be going to WDW in January. We are staying on site for our stay for 5 days. However, our husbands and her in-laws are joing us on day 6 and we are staying off-site then. We 4 have 8 day tickets, the others will be getting 4 day tickets. How will we be able to have all of us included in any form of Fast Pass riding together when this new system is surely in place by January?

    • i called disney with a similar issue. we have out of town friends joining us and they’re staying off property and won’t be able to use FP+.

      The cast member i spoke with said they aren’t planning (as of now) to remove the old machines but they will reduce them. we were told to make sure no one uses the FP+ program but instead uses the old system like it’s set up now.

      apparently there is an issue with using the old machines once your ticket has been synched up with FP+.

  • The only one of those rides/attractions that I have ever felt the need to use FastPass on is possibly Pirates, though even then the line there usually doesn’t take too long unless it is way out the door.

  • This is all very confusing. I am an Australian coming in October, I have my paper tickets and love to preplan, used touring plans last visit very effectively but am
    Unsure how to even access fast pass plus reservations. Can I do that ahead of time if I am not staying on site ? Or do I have to wait til I arrive in parks which will be time consuming on our first day?

    • If I am understanding correctly – you should be able to link your tickets to the system on the Disney website – but right now you won’t see a way to schedule your Fastpasses because the system isn’t live. Once the system is live – I believe you will be able to schedule them as long as you’ve set up an account on their website. I’m not sure if being from Australia would change that or not – I’m not super-techy.

      • I was told by a cast member that the program will only be available to guests staying on property. even past the testing phase. it’s very possible that the individual was mistaken in the information but that’s what i was told. they said because part of our party is staying off property and part will be on property we’ll need to use the old system that’s in place now if we all want to get on the ride in the FP line together.

        • While both systems exist, the FP+ is for “disney testers” only. If one has an annual pass, there is a loophole too that the AP holder can get a traditional FP and use a FP+ reservation with the wristband.

          This is because the RFID identifier is different than the magnetic identifier, and while it might be feasible if the 2 systems were linked, it probably costs too much in back end IT engineering to prevent this loophole at this time.

          So, bascially, traditional FP will still work through whenever Disney decides. (Mostly I’m hearing through the end of the year.)

          And people without a hotel room and people with a room but who have not specifically linked their park admission to mymagic+ won’t have ability to make reservations.

          Keep in mind that it’s totally free to add up to the room capacity maximum amount of people to any reservation. Don’t give the extra people on a room charging privileges or tell them the pin.

          But if you can add the people to the room, then they can get in on FP+. It will be “tricky” to get a FP and FP+ reservation together.

          So, another recommendation is to skip FP+ and not register for mymagic+.

  • My observation reading the reviews of FP+: and my opinion of what will happen after they turn it on:

    The secondary rides with a new FP+ line might have slightly longer standby. But if there was “minimal” wait before, then there will still be a minimal wait at that time.

    And after full implementation, FP lines at headlines will be shorter, and standby lines will be longer but move quicker.

    So, with a touring plan that does not depend on FP, try to make all the FP+ reservation for between 3 pm and 7 pm. A good aggressive park goer will be close to done with the touring plan by then. And you can either ride twice or skip it during the touring plan and do it during the FP+.

    But there will be advantages to people using child swap. There was not previously a way to child swap Haunted Mansion if kid was too scared to even go in line.

    For handicapped that essentially just use the FP line, there will be more of those rides.

    So, basically, there will be MORE opportunities to use cheats, secrets, shortcuts, touring plans, and general insider knowledge to skip ahead of people who are not in the know.

    Remember, the actual thing that drives the length of the lines is the crowd level that day or at that time. FP just gives priority to some people over others.

    So, still go during low crowd levels, and still try to use plan tricks like early morning touring and doing “shows” and high capacity rides during busier times of day.

  • I’ve been testing this out and struggling with it. I have FP+ reservations but it doesn’t always seem to take those into account when planning my touring plan. For example, the day we fly in we arrive at DHS at 2pm. I entered a FP+ for 3:00 for TSM plus a few other things we would like to see the first day. Upon arrival at the park our touring plan has us going to TSM and waiting 67 minutes to ride. That’s the same time as my FP+ is booked for and yet it has me in the standby line for an hour?

    Am I doing something wrong?

    Excited to try out the FP+ system! Loving that we can fly in and not have to worry about not getting a FP for our favorite ride nor having to wait in a long line. Happy to give the new system a try.

    Now….just to figure out how TP works with it.

    • Hi Catherine! I see you’ve created a lot of plans! Email me with the URL of the specific plan you’re working with, and I’ll take a look. len at touringplans.com. Thanks!

  • Len- I’m having trouble with this. I’m getting a notification that the plan is not using one of my Fastpass+ reservations, but it, in fact, IS using that reservation in the plan. Here’s the URL…

    http://touringplans.com/plans/526765#

    Thanks Len!
    Scott

  • Got an invite to test magic bands and we are so excited! How do I add Fastpass+ reservation times to a personalized touring plan and optimize it?

    • Hi Tracie!

      There’s a new section for Fastpass+ on the “Evaluate and Optimize” page of the touring plans. It’s right above the section titled “Your Plan Steps” and is called “Fastpass+ Options.” There you can do two things:

      1) Tell us the rides and times for which you have Fastpass+ reservations.

      2) Ask us to make suggestions for any remaining Fastpass+ opportunities you have.

      Let me know how it goes.

      • Hi Len,

        Thanks for the info. Love your touring plan and Lines App! I tried it but the plan did not incorporate all the selections into the plan. It keeps moving Kali River Rapids to the morning even though I got the Fastpass+ in the afternoon when getting wet would be better during the hot afternoon. Also, the Lion King Fastpass+ reservation is not listed in the touring plan. I was wondering if this was because I was doing it on my iPad but I got the same results on the computer. Any suggestions?

        • Hey Tracie! Send me the URL to your plan, please, and I’ll take a look at Festival of the Lion King.

          Kali is one of those attractions that’s frequently easier to schedule in the morning, because of the backtracking involved later in the day. Use the ‘Evaluate’ option and move Kali to the afternoon if you’d like to ride then.

          As for Festival of the Lion King, at what time is your Fastpass? You should be able to enter those times into the app and desktop. So that’s odd.

  • I have followed step 1 in the above comment but they still do not show up in the plans.

  • The Optimizer is removing my Fastpass+ reservations from my plans during “Evaluate”. I understand the removal during “Optimize”, but I thought Evaluate was more about seeing what a custom plan would look like, as opposed to making it the most efficient. If I can’t move my Fastpass+ reservation, then I essentially can’t make a touring plan to use in the park that includes what I must use.

    Rock N Roller Coaster is the one that keeps getting bumped by the system.

    • Also Len-

      When I click the option to use FP+ AND Fastpass Legacy for one of my MK plans, the system is adding “existing FP+ reservations” throughout the plan that I haven’t reserved.

      • Can you post the URL, please, Scott? We’ll take a look. It could be the message itself.

        • Sure Len-

          http://touringplans.com/plans/553724#

          Thanks.

          Any thoughts on my post above that?

          • Ah, yes. It’s a known issue. The steps where you’re supposed to be using legacy Fastpass, such as Step 21 (Barnstormer) are incorrectly identified as Fastpass+.

            Unfortunately, we don’t have a timeline for fixing this, and given that legacy Fastpass is being phased out, I don’t know if we’ll fix it. The work-around is to manually track which are Fastpass+ and which are legacy Fastpass steps. Given that the legacy Fastpass steps still have an “Obtain Fastpasses for …” instruction in the plan, I don’t think this is a particular burden. Let me know if you think different.

            Thanks for using the site!

            Len

          • Ahhh. Len, that makes total sense. I hadn’t noticed that it was actually just Fastpass Legacy steps with the wrong label. That’s easy to understand as is.

            I also figured out what was happening with my other problem. It’s when I’m trying to “evaluate” a plan I’ve come up with, with my reserved Fastpass+ times, if I try to visit an attraction I have a Fastpass+ reservation a second time BEFORE the Fastpass+ reservation, it won’t let me visit without using Fastpass+. So- it leads to the plan using the first visit to the attraction as my Fastpass+ even if it makes me wait 100+ minutes to use it. This throws the rest of the plan off, and causes the plan to not use other Fastpass+ reservations because it misses the window.
            For instance, in the plan below… I’m supposed to visit ToT with a 3pm Fastpass+ reservation, but i wanted to visit ToT before that as a standby. The plan won’t let me do that, and instead makes me wait until 3 to visit the first time..

            ANy thoughts?
            http://touringplans.com/plans/619113

            Thanks again Len-
            Scott

  • I want my MK plan to tell me what time of day to obtain a Fastpass+ for Space Mountain. At the moment the waiting time is shown as 43 minutes. Visiting Sat April 12th 2014 and using one day holiday touring plan.

    • Gary, you’ve got a couple of options to try. One is to get the FP+ reservation with a start time of 30 minutes before the arrival time shown on your plan. So if your plan shows an arrival time of 12:45 PM, get a FP+ reservation that starts around 12:15 PM.

      A second option may be possible if your visit to Space Mountain does not appear along with your other Tomorrowland attractions. If that’s the case, you can try for a FP+ reservation around then. For example, if you’re visiting other Tomorrowland attractions between 10 AM and 11 AM, try to get a FP+ reservation either from 9:30-10:30 AM, or 10:30-11:30AM, and see how that affects the plan. (That assumes that those times don’t conflict with a breakfast or other plans.)

      Let me know if this isn’t clear. You can also post the URL to your plan, and I can make more specific recommendations.